In Old English or in Middle English, was "join" ever pronounced "jin?"

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    Can you expand on the motivation for this question? Do you know of some reason to think that "join" was pronounced as "jin" at some point? – herisson Aug 20 '18 at 4:16
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    I don't know about Early or Middle English, but the village church near where I grew up (Derbyshire, UK) has an inscription (late 18th or early 19th century, I think) in which 'join' is supposed to rhyme with 'mine'. – Kate Bunting Aug 20 '18 at 8:43

Indeed, join and jine were pronounced very nearly, if not exactly, the same in the early 18th century (much more recently than Middle English), when Alexander Pope wrote:

Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.

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    This pronunciation is mentioned by the OED as /dʒaɪn/. – Laurel Sep 21 '18 at 0:22
  • @Laurel: but it wasn't /dʒaɪn/ when Pope wrote, even though is in dialects today. It was something like join. See the Wikipedia page for Great Vowel Shift. The vowel in join stayed more or less where it is today, while the vowel in mine moved past it; that webpage has /dʒʌɪn/, which is very close to /dʒɔɪn/. So for a few years, they were very close, if they didn't merge completely. – Peter Shor Sep 27 '18 at 22:49
  • The OED pretty specifically calls this pronunciation out as being historical in addition to being used in some modern-day dialects: "The rhymes show the pronunciation /dʒaɪn/ in 17–18th cent.; this is still dialectal." In any case I'm not a fan of the Wikipedia article because it's super generalized and I find it hard to follow. – Laurel Sep 27 '18 at 23:11

No, "join" was not a part of the English vocabulary. The letter "J" was not invented by then. "Bindan" is Anglo-Saxon word for join. We still use this in Dutch(Binden). Even in the original 1611 King James Bible there is no "J". https://www.originalbibles.com/the-original-king-james-bible-1611-pdf/

  • This doesn't answer the question. While it is correct that "j" was only used in the word from the 1600s onward, the word existed before then. In Middle English alone it had about 8 spellings, so it makes sense to discuss it using modern spelling to avoid confusion. – Laurel Sep 21 '18 at 0:11
  • Out of curiosity - how did they spell the king's name in those days, without the "J"? – Lawrence Sep 21 '18 at 0:21
  • @Lawrence: see the link in this answer, scroll down to the listing of books. Find such things as Ioshua, Iudges, Iob, etc. – GEdgar Sep 21 '18 at 0:43
  • @Lawrence: before the "J" came into widespread use, "I" served the purpose of both "I" and "J". So it was spelled "Iames" (but still pronounced James). – Peter Shor Sep 27 '18 at 13:53
  • @GEdgar Thanks, it was an interesting dive into the I/J history. – Lawrence Sep 27 '18 at 14:09

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